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Reforming the detention system
December 11, 2009

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2009) – Donald M. Kerwin, Jr., Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute and a Board Member of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA addressed a hearing yesterday on “Moving Toward More Effective Immigration Detention Management,” held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism. While praising the recent decisions by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for recent reforms, Mr. Kerwin provided clear goals for ICE as the reform process goes forward.

“Today we are gathering to hear testimony from key stakeholders and advocates on the current immigration detention system and the challenges to reforming detention standards. This hearing comes at a crucial time since the Department of Homeland Security is currently considering how to overhaul the current system,” said Chairwoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) as she brought the hearing to order.

“ICE currently uses a web of detention facilities, ranging from contract detention facilities to the over 350 local and state facilities, along with government run facilities. Unfortunately it seems like this variety of facilities has made it difficult to ensure that national detention standards are being adhered to in all detention facilities. I believe it is extremely important that any detention facility, acting on behalf of the United States, adhere to a clear and standard level of oversight and accountability,” Rep. Sanchez said.

To see the entire video of the hearing, which includes remarks made by committee members and other witnesses, please visit the committee page.

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